Friday, July 29, 2016
We publish comics in the U.S. since 1999, first work with a publisher was in 2003 things started to hit off only in 2006, but we still live in Brazil and that keeps us distant from the market. The upside is that we don't get influence by trends, imediata statistics or business gossip. We do our work isolated in the safety of our studio. The downside is that we don't have direct contact with the readers and retailers. We throw our books into the ocean hoping they'll find the reader. Throughout all these years, San Diego Comic Con International has been the moment we have to connect with the market, the editors, artists and readers. We've been going since 1997, and this trip serves to recharge our batteries and fuel another year of production.
The convention has changed a lot since we started going, but it's still a unique experience and the best portrait of the North American market in every sphere, from the indy artists with their first mini-comic, to the Small Press area filled with tiny publishers you've never heard of, to alternative oasis like Drawn & Quarterly and Fantagraphics, going through book publishers having their go on comics like Penguin and Scholastic and First Second, finally getting to Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image, as well as "younger" companies like IDW or Boom Studios. Besides, there're many artists and writers scattered around on tables, signing sessions and panels. Yes, Hollywood has taken a gigantic space on the Con – physical space as much as the attention of the media and the public –, but if you're going there for the comics, you're still gonna have the best experience of your life.
We shared tables on small press area and booths on the main floor for years, but since 2012 we don't have a table anymore, a place to stay for the whole day selling our books. This year we had one signing every day and a couple of panels, giving us all the time in the world to walk around, enjoy the show and rest. We miss the close contact with the readers that having a table allowed us, but it was great to do things calmly and really enjoy our days. With such a big demand and a 7 years waiting list, I'd say it's rather unlikely we'll have a table in SDCC again.
But our signing sessions were awesome, full of old and new readers, known faces, people who we connect only by social media, who comment, share and like the smoke signals we send throughout the year, from afar. During these moments of brief interaction, we could have a glimpse of the the readers' reaction about TWO BROTHERS, released last October, and also about our new book, HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES, released last month. With two recent books, readers had a lot to talk about.
Between parties and dinners, one of the highlights of SDCC is the Eisner Awards Ceremony Friday night. Long and boring like any other award ceremony, the Eisner is, however, a moment to stop and celebrate Comics, the creators and the work. We're ALL isolated in our studios, separated by miles, continents and oceans, but right there we're all together, with all our attention on the art. Throughout the night you'll discover works you didn't know, see some comics that had not caught your attention earlier with new and fresh eyes, and get to know a little closer artists whose work you appreciate for years. Over the weekend, you can walk the convention floor looking for the winners. All of them will be there, waiting for you.
Once more, we were.
Over the course of twenty years, we met a lot of people in Comics. We've seen our idols become our friends and some of our friends turning into professionals. SDCC is also a big reunion, a big party.
This year's edition was one of the best SDCC for us, for all the reasons described above, but specially for bringing a deeper feeling of recognition. We're always trying new things, every new project is different from the last, and every year we meet new artists and new works that inspire us and push us to keep innovating and believing there's still a lot to be done in Comics. One of these artists, whom we've met personally in 2008, was Darwyn Cooke. He showed us with his “Parker” series that it was possible to make an good adaptation, keeping his own voice while doing it and blowing the readers' minds. This was the work that convinced us it was possible to adapt Two Brothers. He showed us (and everybody else) an adaptation can be relevant, feel original and look amazing. Throughout the years, his work would guide us, and I hope to have achieved just a bit of the prime he's presented us.
Last Friday, in the heat of the moment and nervous as hell, while thanking everyone who helped us making Two Brothers a reality, I forgot the most obvious and important person of all. Without Darwyn Cooke, our book wouldn't exist. The Eisner we won is dedicated to him.